Degrees and Certificates

School of Law and Social Work dual degree program

Earn your MSW and JD at the same time at Washburn University.

Recognizing that many problems faced by people in today's complex society require solutions that cross traditional boundaries of professional expertise, Washburn University has developed the Dual Degree Program in Law and Social Work to encourage students to obtain Master's of Social Work (M.S.W.) and Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degrees during their course of study at Washburn.

The goal of the J.D./M.S.W. Dual Degree Program is to prepare students with combined skills in both social work and law for professional practice with complex social and legal issues in areas where social work and law converge. Although graduates of this program will be particularly well-prepared to work with clients having problems in the areas of mental health, children and youth, family relations, and the elderly, they will also possess the knowledge and skills necessary to work in any area where the legal system interacts with the social services delivery system (e.g., criminal and juvenile justice administration, legal services to disadvantaged persons, and housing and community development). The program curriculum meets all applicable American Bar Association and Council on Social Work Education accreditation guidelines.

On its own, the J.D. program at Washburn University School of Law requires 90 credit hours; the M.S.W. program at the Washburn University Department of Social Work requires either 33 credit hours (for advanced-standing students) or 66 credit hours (for regular-standing students). Thus, pursued separately, the two degree programs would require a total of either 123 credit hours (for advanced-standing students) or 156 credit hours (for regular-standing students). Under the Dual Degree Program, certain courses are accepted for credit by both schools: six credit hours of law school courses may count toward the M.S.W., and six credit hours of graduate social work courses may count toward the J.D. Students can therefore obtain both degrees with a total of 111 credit hours (for advanced-standing M.S.W. students) or 144 credit hours (for regular-standing M.S.W. students).

Law school courses that transfer toward the M.S.W. will be determined by the M.S.W. Program Director in conjunction with the student's academic advisor from the Department of Social Work; social work courses in which the student earned at least a "B" may transfer toward the J.D. as determined by the law school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. (Grades will not transfer between schools; for the transferee school, the courses will be treated as credit/no-credit.) No credits for social work courses will transfer to the law school until the student has obtained 12 credits of social work courses.

Students may choose to begin either their legal studies or their social work studies first. However, credit for social work classes taken before students have completed their first year of law school will not transfer to the law school. Whenever they start the law school program, students must take the full first-year curriculum, all of which consists of required courses, without interruption. Students will not be permitted to take social work courses during the first year of law school. After the completion of the first year of law school, students may choose in each semester whether to take courses in the social work department, in the law school, or in both. If students simultaneously take courses in both programs, the total number of credits enrolled in at one time must stay within the parameters required by the American Bar Association's standards governing accredited law schools. Students are also required to participate in the various orientation and assessment activities of both programs.

Students must separately apply to and be accepted by both academic programs. Students are asked to indicate to each school, at the time of application, that they are applying to the J.D./M.S.W. Dual Degree Program. Students will pay tuition for law school courses at the normal rate for that school and will pay tuition for social work courses at the normal rate for that school.

Each fall semester, J.D./M.S.W. Dual Degree students will be required to attend a "Law and Social Work Colloquium." Other law and graduate social work students may attend as well. This two- to three-clock-hour colloquium will focus on either a topical area of relevance to Dual Degree students or on relevant career opportunities. Guest speakers may include prominent judges, public policy experts, political officeholders, practicing attorneys, practicing social workers, and social service administrators.

Every effort will be made to place students in practicum settings that will contribute to their individual goals in the Dual Degree Program. Practicum training opportunities are available through a variety of agencies, programs, and services offered at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

J.D./Advanced-Standing M.S.W. Program

Program Required Hours
(if pursued separately)
Joint-Degree
Hour Reduction
Joint Degree
Required Hours
J.D. 90 -6 84
M.S.W.-Advanced 33 -6 27
Total Hours 123 -12 111

J.D./Regular-Standing M.S.W. Program

Program Required Hours
(if pursued separately)
Joint-Degree
Hour Reduction
Joint Degree
Required Hours
J.D. 90 -6 84
M.S.W.-Regular 66 -6 60
Total Hours 1156 -12 144